If you're feeling energetic then ASDA may have just sorted you out with a Black Friday stocking filler bargain. Just Dance 2015 is currently £15.00 on PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Wii and Wii U, saving you a few quid especially on the new-gen versions. Weirdly the PS3 version is holding out at £25 though.
I won't be reviewing Just Dance this year after seriously damaging my dignity the last few times, but you know what to expect by now. Namely solid, colourful, enjoyable dancing that makes good use of motion controls. Thanks to DID365 @ HUKD!
Yesterday, in the wake of 343 Industries' heartfelt apology for Halo: The Master Chief Collection, Ubisoft's management finally owned up to the errors of Assassin's Creed: Unity.
Before we get onto ripping the message apart, though, let's look at what the publisher actually did do. The failings of Assassin's Creed: Unity are well-documented on this site, partially-hidden on launch day by a time-gated embargo that was so idiotic and publicly slammed that Ubisoft say they have revised their approach to reviews going forwards. People bought the game in the US at launch to find no reviews published, with many players angrily reporting a plethora of bugs and technical issues. In a statement from Ubi Montreal's CEO, Yannis Mallat, Ubisoft "sincerely apologized", suggesting that "the overall quality of [Assassin's Creed: Unity] was diminished by bugs and unexpected technical issues", and offering compensation for those who'd bought an Assassin's Creed: Unity Season Pass:
"To show our appreciation for your continued support, we’re making the upcoming Assassin’s Creed Unity Dead Kings DLC free for everyone," wrote Mallat. "For Season Pass holders, we will also offer the choice of one additional game from a selection of Ubisoft titles for free. More details on the offer for Season Pass holders can be found here: AC Unity FAQ."
Those free games are not to be sniffed at either, including Far Cry 4 (it's excellent), The Crew (hmmm), Assassin's Creed: Black Flag (much better than Unity), Watch Dogs (bloated, but still better than Unity), Rayman Legends (10/10), and Just Dance 2015 (it's Just Dance).
It's sort of the same move that EA pulled with SimCity, which sort of lends credence to my hypothesis that Ubisoft are actually just copying EA at this point. Things is, just like in the SimCity situation, this damage control is just a seemingly classy move that does nothing but paper over the cracks.Click here to read more...
Let’s begin with a bit of housekeeping – those of you that have bought or played Rocksmith 2014 Edition on PS3 or Xbox 360 will find an almost identical experience with the current-gen version. All the new modes and functionality used to improve the experience returns, as does the ability to access any song bought in previous titles as long as you stick with the same family of consoles (eg. PS3 to PS4). So, with that in mind, you can probably skip towards the end of the review for critique specific for the current-gen version.
For the rest of us, be it those uninitiated to Rocksmith or have remained with the previous version, Rocksmith 2014 continues to provide a way for budding guitarists to learn how to play and improve their skills. Tutorials cover the basics, including setup and posture, all the way to advanced techniques such as trills, hammering, and bending. Video demonstrations and repeatable interactive sections are well presented, easy to follow, and gives opportunity for intermediate players to perfect other skills before jumping into the track list proper. For someone who was always more of a Rhythm guitarist than a Lead, it meant I could venture into new areas of play without having to start over completely.
Click here to read more...
Assassin's Creed: Unity targeted Xbox One as its lead platform, and if you're in the market for a cheap Xbox One deal, CDKeys are currently charging £24.95 for one day only. Saving you a tenner in the process and ticking another game off your Black Friday checklist.
Remember to 'like' them on Facebook for an extra 5% discount! Whether you like Assassin's Creed Unity will be another matter, though. The game's notorious technical issues may be nowhere near as pronounced on Xbox One, but Matt describes it as a "corpulent, broken mess that plays neither to its own strengths nor to its fanbase" in our 5/10 review, even if there are "flashes of promise." It sure does look pretty though.
Ubisoft have warned gamers against early reviews of The Crew. Let's reiterate that: Ubisoft are warning people against a product they fear might be rushed and not up to scratch.
Hello pot, meet kettle.
"While we fully anticipate that you might see some reviews immediately at launch — largely built around the preview sessions we facilitated during the past months or the limited content of the closed and open betas — they won’t be based on optimal conditions or reflect the finished game," Ubisoft have said.
"We sincerely hope everyone will take the time to customize their ride as they progress through all five regions, explore every corner of the map solo and with friends, dive into our competitive and cooperative mechanics, race to the end of the main campaign, choose a Faction and compete with your crew in Factions Wars, and so much more."
To be fair to Ubisoft, The Crew is a game heavily predicated on its connected world and its online experience. We've long said that it's an ambitious title, probably the most ambitious racing game of the year. It's the same sort of missive that Bungie sent out ahead of Destiny, suggesting that reviewers appraise the game across its first few weeks out in the public domain, and warning against early critical appraisals that would surely be ill-informed and ultimately unreliable.
It's okay to scoff, for a moment, at Ubisoft attempting to tell critics how do to their job in the wake of the shambles that was Assassin's Creed: Unity's release, but I kind of want to play devil's advocate here. See, in spite of the (perfectly justified) savaging I've given Ubisoft over the last few weeks, I actually sort of agree with them on this count.Click here to read more...
Ubisoft have announced that The Crew will be hitting open beta from tomorrow across PS4 and Xbox One. The beta will go live from 8AM BST/9AM CET tomorrow until 8AM BST/9AM CET on Friday.
If you've already played the closed beta, the open beta will be ready and available to play on the dashboard of either console. If you're yet to sample The Crew, however, simply search for the game on PSN/Xbox LIVE and download from there.
It looks like you may well need PS Plus/XBL Gold to run the beta, given that it's an online title.
GAME are currently offering Watch Dogs for under £15 pre-owned, and that includes Special Edition versions of the game too. Do note, though, that because of the nature of the used market, those Special Editions might have had the "special" codes exhausted by previous owners. As GAME themselves note onsite, "pre-owned version may not include additional content".
Still, when it's the same price as the standard version, it's probably worth a punt.
I have to say that although I found bits of its bloated content package to be superfluous, and in spite of its protagonist being dreadfully boring, I found Watch Dogs rather entertaining for a couple of weeks. You can click here to check out our Watch Dogs review. Thanks oUkTuRkEyIII!
Curiously, Amazon have not included any games within their Black Friday countdown deals, but you wouldn't think that's the case with this listing for South Park: The Stick of Truth. It's the cheapest we've seen the PC version fall to, and will save you around £4 over the next best offer elsewhere. Please note that this is for a download code to be redeemed on Steam.
As Brendan points out in our review, Obsidian Entertainment have managed to create an enjoyable and authentic South Park experience thanks to the involvement of Trey Parker and Matt Stone. With a combat system that is surprisingly deeper than it appears, it would seem that The Stick Of Truth has ended up being worth the wait - despite the hilarious censorship issues. Thanks to Dezzza123 @ HUKD!
I actually got a real kick out of Watch Dogs. It's got the most boring protagonist ever, and it's overstuffed with content, but you can pick and choose your way through that. Moreover, as boring as Aiden is, the stuff he can do is pretty cool, and there's nothing quite like sticking on the Blues Brothers soundtracks and tearing it up on the roads of Chicago.
You can click here to read our Watch Dogs review. Thanks oUkTuRkEyIII!
Didn't like the look of Assassin's Creed: Unity? Don't let it put you off the series! Black Flag is basically a new-gen, more murderous, stealthy, parkour-packed version of Sid Meier's Pirates! If you use the 5% off Facebook voucher at CDKeys, you can get Bl;ack Flag on Xbox One for just £12.34.
NB. Do bear in mind that this is a digital download code.
If you're looking to snap up a decent Assassin's Creed: Unity deal for Christmas, it's worth noting that CDKeys have started selling codes for digital downloads on consoles now. As such, if you use the 5% off Facebook voucher, you can get Assassin's Creed: Unity on Xbox One for under £30.
NB. Do bear in mind that this is a digital download code.
I didn't really think much of Assassin's Creed: Unity (click here to check out our ACU review), but evidently my fellow critics did, and it has its fair share of fans out there. This is a damn fine price for the game on console right now.
Assassin's Creed: Unity is a beautiful game. Sat atop the towers of Notre Dame, it's hard not to admire the scale of the Paris that Ubisoft Montreal have painstakingly recreated here. Perhaps more so than in any other Assassin's Creed game to date -- the edifices and porticos of Rome excepted -- Unity captures the essence of its setting perfectly. The streets throng with disgruntled citizens, loudly bemoaning everything under the sun in snippets of French. The power of the new-gen consoles has been harnessed spectacularly when it comes to populating the streets, and in later stages, when the guillotine blades start to fall and the masses crowd round to watch the bloody spectacles, the sheer number of NPCs onscreen boggles the mind.
Unity is a game that also seeks to fix some of the issues of previous instalments in the series. Arno, the game's protagonist, can now free-run up and down, depending on the button you're holding. It means that accidental, suicidal plunges are now largely a thing of the past, and that scampering around the city needn't see Arno climb atop the clutter rather than bounding over or sliding under obstacles. It's a system that works relatively well, even if it does take a little bit of getting used to. That Arno will still clamber onto low-slung tables when you're just holding down the sprint trigger is a bit annoying, but at least there's a quick, safe way of getting down from high places that don't have convenient straw piles lying in wait for a Leap of Faith.
Continuing on, it seems ludicrous that a series that sees you engage in clandestine murder should have lacked a dedicated crouch or "stealth" button for this long, but Ubisoft have finally fixed that. Now it's possible to slink about restricted areas in the manner of a cartoon robber, and you can snap in and out of cover at the touch of a button. There's also a dedicated button for helping you slip in through a window rather than jumping up and bypassing it completely as might have been the case before.
The combat system has been made clearer and more readily defined too. Instead of watching the behaviour of your enemies, you can now parry attacks easily thanks to massive, glowing indicators that tell you when you should execute the perfect parry, and when an unblockable attack is coming so you can roll deftly out of harm's way. Pleasingly enough, it feels more solid than combat in recent years, but it's still not really a patch on Ezio's finest work.
In fact, none of it is.
In fact, it's making me think ever more fondly of Assassin's Creed 3, and that's not a good sign.Click here to read more...
Far Cry 4's opening is a bit brilliant, really. In fact, for sheer insanity, I'd go so far as to say that it tops its predecessor by a significant margin. You thought Vaas was a bit of a live wire? Well, he doesn't have a thing on Pagan Min.
We'll have our Far Cry 4 review for you soon, but in the interim, here's a look at the game's first 20 mins.
Those of you with current-gen consoles looking for a last minute bargain ahead of Far Cry 4's release tomorrow should take note of this deal from Tesco Direct. By using the voucher code below, the price falls to the cheapest we've seen for a pre-order, and will save you around £7 compared to the next best offer. Do bear in mind that the code will only work with new accounts.
The Limited Edition comes with the Hurk's Redemption missions, which apparently provides an extra hour of gameplay and a harpoon gun. We'll be delivering our official verdict later this week, but considering how impressed Jon was with the way Far Cry 4 goes between the relatively-realistic open world sandbox and a spiritual dimension where you have a tiger at your command, it's almost safe to say that if you enjoyed its predecessor you'll find some fun in this instalment. Thanks to Assassin82 @ HUKD!
Remember when Ubisoft said they didn't have the resources to include female character models for the co-op mode Assassin's Creed Unity? Well, Ubi, what the hell are these two doing? I'm pretty sure those are boobs.
It would seem Ubisoft found enough 'resources' to include a bit of eye-candy around the Brotherhood. To be fair, it doesn't look like these two are using the 8000 animations that apparently would have been required to include female character models in the co-op mode.
But on the other hand, how many of those animations are used already for Elise who has numerous in-game appearances alongside Arno. So far, we've seen her fight and run, but admittedly no climbing. But we're thinking a large proportion of the work must have been done already.
We've heard that Ubi just didn't have the resources to do all the mo-cap sessions again with female actors/parkour athletes who we're led to believe move differently to their male counterparts. Considering all the rough edges found in Assassin's Creed Unity though, we're going to have to call bullshit there. If only Ubisoft had had some experience of creating a female Assassin before, maybe for a spinoff or something? Oh wait...
Would any of us really have noticed if the male animations were used for female character models? A slight change of outfit and maybe some round shapes under their tops (we're not asking for Dead or Alive esque boob physics) and you're away. Sure, I've over-simplified it somewhat, but I'm probably not as far off as you'd think either.Click here to read more...
Every Sunday, we'll be diving into the Dealspwn archives to bring you an article or review from yesteryear. This week, with Assassin's Creed: Unity making headlines for many an unfortunate reason, we take a look back at the adventures of Arno's predecessor -- Ezio Auditore -- and his exploits in Rome. We gave Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood full marks back in 2010 for building on the outstanding strengths of ACII, and even today it's difficult not to climb to the top of the Colosseum, hit the Synchronise button and not have the game take your breath away.
How about you, dear reader? What's been your favourite Assassin's Creed game?
* * *
Platforms: PC | PS3 | Xbox 360 (Reviewed)
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Assassin’s Creed II was one of the best games of last year. Lavishly presented, gloriously rendered, vast in scope and epic draw distance, it was period parkour pièce de résistance that trumped the original game in virtually every capacity and set Ubisoft’s Templar-bashing series up as true triple-A material.
To consider Assassin’s Creed II’s pedigree is to be somewhat surprised that Brotherhood has emerged so quickly, a mere year later. I sidelined the game to the apathetic corners of my mind, the various preview events rather more intent on showing off a quirky new multiplayer mode (something I’d never been sure the series needed...more on that later) than progressing the singleplayer freedom of Desmond and his ancestors. I assumed that Brotherhood – much like ODST had been for the Halo series (which, ironically, I loved) – would simply be a stopgap in between ‘proper’ games.
I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Brotherhood picks up right where Assassin’s Creed II left off – lots of patting of backs, a joyous family reunion, Ezio charming random townspeople, and everyone swooning over the shiny old MacGuffin that is the Apple of Eden. Of course, it’s not long before the Borgia family come knocking at Ezio’s door, clearly ticked off at the young Florentine’s actions in the last game, trashing his town and nicking all of his stuff.Click here to read more...
Assassin's Creed: Unity has sort of taken over my life at the moment. It's a vast game, and vast in a really good way in that it's packed with things to do. It's not like AC3, where you had this vast expanse of mundane nothingness. Mind you, at least AC3 really made you feel like you were a key, shadowy part of history -- Unity somehow manages to make one of the most interesting, politically-murky periods in history little more than window dressing.
Yep, you read that right; Assassin's Creed: Unity has actually given me a newfound appreciation of AC3. Didn't expect that.
Unity is a game stuffed with contradictions -- for every positive there's a negative, for every step forward there's something that undermines the game and whatever it's trying to do. It's a game that has instilled an enormous sense of ambivalence in me. On the one hand, there are things that I love about it, new elements that I want to see furthered and expanded upon. In some ways it does represent the first in a new era of Assassin's Creed games. On the other hand, however, I'm sort of sick of the sight of it, such are this game's long list of sins.
For the sake of balance, here are five things I'm currently loving and loathing about Unity...Click here to read more...
Two games have dominated headlines over the last 24 hours: Just Cause 3 and Assassin's Creed Unity. One a hero, one a villain, both perfect examples of how insane and toxic microtransaction culture has become.
To be perfectly clear, I don't have a problem with micro-transactions in cut-price or F2P games. They allow us to cherry-pick the content we want and spend however much money we want, while developers deserve to be paid for their effort. There's nothing wrong with that.
Unfortunately, when shoved into a game that already set you back £30-£50, something has gone horribly wrong.
Click here to read more...
We call it how we see it here on Dealspwn. We've frequently castigated EA for anti-consumer practices; we berated Microsoft for their failures in communication and advocacy of DRM back in the days of Don Mattrick, who sort of sounds a little bit like the worst Mafioso ever; we lamented Nintendo's lunacy, waged war on WB snipping bits off of Shadow of Mordor, slammed industry cancers like on-disc DLC, ludicrous season passes, and the heady age of multiplayer serial codes.
Now it's Ubisoft's turn.
The French publisher has had a number of major screw-ups in the last twelve months, from trying to argue that one of the biggest studios in the world didn't have the resources to develop female characters, to charging £50 for standard PC games, to forcing Uplay into everything, to writing off 60 FPS as an industry standard. That last one is bitterly ironic considering that the jewel in their winter release slate -- Assassin's Creed: Unity -- appears to be laughably unable to hit 30 FPS on a consistent basis, let alone 60.
It's a far cry (sorry) from the company we all saw swoop into E3 last year and save everybody's bacon. This is the company that stuck by Rayman despite dismal sales, the company that (along with Obsidian, of course) finally brought us a South Park game that did the IP justice, these folks gave us Sid Meier's Assassin's Creed Pirates! Now, however, their biggest game of the year has been found out to be a buggy mess, their stringent, launch-day embargo lies in ridiculed ruins, and one wonders whether or not this will have a knock-on effect for Far Cry 4 and The Crew.
Where did it all go wrong?Click here to read more...
Assassin's Creed: Unity is a bit of a technical mess. We've already established that. Even given the hefty 900MB patch that greets you the second you fire up the game, it still has moments of hideous slowdown, dubious input recognition, and unsightly pop-in.
Were I to speculate, I'd posit that Unity is something of a rush job (despite having an alleged three years in development), which is a real shame, because it's actually got an awful lot going for it, especially in terms of setting and mission design and improvements t traversal that genuinely fix many of the long-standing concerns that fans have had for years.
There'll be more on all of that to come in subsequent articles and the review, which I hope to have ready by the time the game launches here in the UK on Friday.
For now, though, here's a look at Assassin's Creed: Unity's first twenty minutes of gameplay footage. Ladies and gents, it's time for opening scenes...Click here to read more...